Prominent civil society organisations have responded to religious leaders who petitioned the Malawian Parliament in December 2016 against the proposed reforms on safe abortion, accusing them of double standards on the matter. The groups included the Malawi Human Rights Resource Center, NGO Gender Coordinating Network, Human Rights Consultative Committee, Center for Human Rights Rehabilitation and others. They also said they would publicly name and shame some religious leaders for their misdeeds, arguing that in fact … Continued
A study found that all Malawians understand that the problem of unsafe abortion exists. Different stakeholders were interviewed, including religious leaders, chiefs, young people, politicians, parliamentarians – and all of them agreed that this problem exists. They did however raise the challenge that it was a difficult subject to discuss publicly.
Not long after the Malawi Council of Churches expressed optimism that the faith community in Malawi would endorse the safe abortion bill waiting to be tabled in the country’s Parliament, doctors in the Christian Medical and Dental Fellowship in Malawi urged government to critically reassess the proposed bill and stop its passage through Parliament.
The bill proposes reform to ensure that women and girls are not dying of unsafe abortions complications. However the Chair of COPUA (Coalition to Prevent Unsafe Abortion) has noted that the new bill fails to provide enough grounds on which women and girls could seek safe abortion services.
In August 2015, political parties endorsed abortion law reforms in Malawi as currently abortion is illegal and is punishable by a maximum of 14 years in jail except in cases where the pregnancy threatens the life of a woman. The bill is currently at Cabinet level but Members of Parliament have openly asked civil society for more civic education on the issue, as politicians are shy, they say, about speaking of the bill in their constituencies.